In modern society, parenting has become a serious business. We now know that the experiences we have as children have the potential to shape our outlook and behaviour for the rest of our life.
We need to remind ourselves that we can have fun being a parent. When you and your child look back at the experience, hopefully you will remember the many joyful times you shared.
Parenthood is often compared to a job and like any other job you need to be enjoying it to get the most out of it.
Here are a few points to remind us to stop and enjoy, rather than stop and give out:
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Picture this scenario: you arrive into the kitchen to find your little one and their friend making a ‘potion’ with the washing-up liquid, liquid soap and eggs. You have a choice here – either blow up or join in. Have fun discussing what ingredients they could and couldn’t use and finally make the whole clearing up process fun. Once in a while children will do things they shouldn’t. You do need to teach some basic rules, but it isn’t always the end of the world if your child breaks them. In the above example, when the parent chose to join in, they probably taught their child as much as the parent who just gave out. So, before you launch into a giving-out session, see if you could try an alternative, more light-hearted approach.
Sounds fairly simplistic, but many adults have lost the message that playing should be fun. Their leisure time becomes something they manage and they spend time pursuing activities that are ‘good’ but don’t necessarily make them feel any better. When it comes to playing with their child, they may see this as an opportunity to teach. From a child’s perspective this is no fun at all. The parent can end up frustrated with the child who won’t ‘play’ the way they want them to, and the child can feel put upon and, at worst, inadequate. So when you are playing with your child, do just that – the value of play is in its enjoyment
We are our own worst enemy when it comes to stress. Stress is not necessarily a bad thing – it can help to keep us alert and efficient. However, it becomes a negative force when we feel overwhelmed by it. If you have young children, there will be times when it feels like you are under fire and don’t have the personal resources to manage. However, it does not have to be like this all the time.
We are adults and have a lot of control over how we approach and manage situations. For example, when supermarket shopping, by simply deciding that it will take as long as it takes and forgetting about time pressures, a stressed parent can approach a trip in a more positive frame of mind.
You and your child might actually enjoy it. So the next time you are feeling under stress, try to remember you are in control and try looking at the situation in a different way to take the pressure off.
We might all strive to give our children the perfect childhood, but the reality is we make mistakes. If you lose the spontaneity and fun from your family life in the quest for perfection, you have lost your way. Children love their parents – faults and all.
Children also want us to enjoy time with them and love them totally, and they thrive if they have lots of opportunities to have fun with us. Our kids grow up quickly, so don’t put off having fun.
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